As a huge fan of the X-Men: Days of Future Past comics, I was excited for and scared of the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie. Obviously the movie was going to change the source material — some of the changes were for Hollywood reasons, some of the changes worked, and some of them will make millions of fanboys cry out in terror. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It certainly has problems, but it’s fun enough that I can see myself watching it dozens of times on cable. Here are some random thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past. (Turn on your spoiler shields, please.)
Ch-ch-ch-changes: Going into the movie, I knew that things were going to be rearranged to feature Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence. They’re the two biggest stars in the X-Men movie franchise, so naturally the plot was altered to give them as much screen time as possible. Some purists will be annoyed that Wolverine was sent back in time instead of Kitty Pryde. While I love me some Ellen Page, I knew that wasn’t going to happen in Days of Future Past. The kids (and ladies) love Hugh Jackman.
One major change that bothered me was Kitty Pryde’s newfound TiVo powers. For some reason, Days of Future Past Kitty has the incredibly convenient superpower to transfer someone’s consciousness to the past. The scene where the future X-Men’s TiVo tactics are explained is pretty bad, topped of by the even worse idea that Wolverine can survive a multi-decade rewind because of his
copout vaunted healing factor.
The ’70s Ruled: The movie alternates between a Dystopian 2023 and a completely awesome 1973. It was fun seeing bell bottoms, afros, garish polyester patterns, waterbeds, analog meters, reel-to-reel audio, etc. I’m pretty sure that the making of Days of Future Past caused a temporary shortage of polyester. As someone that has always been fascinated by the ’70s (disco, drugs, casual sex!), I loved the past scenes of this movie.
The Future Sucks: All nerd movies portray the future as dark and awful. Days of Future Past carries on that fine tradition. The bad news is that the future sucks for the X-Men and humanity in general. The good news is that the fight scenes are pretty sweet. Bishop, Storm, Colossus, Warpath, Sunspot, Iceman, and Blink don’t have a lot to do as far as advancing the narrative, but they’re featured in some awesome action sequences.
On a side note, I was totally embarrassed that I immediately recognized the actor that played Warpath as one of the werewolves from the Twilight movies. Oh well, at least I can admit it.
Hot X-Chicks: I’m always down with watching Jennifer Lawrence in body paint. In fact, one of my dream jobs is to work as the guy that applies her body paint and prosthetics. She’s a beautiful woman, but you already knew that.
I was pleasantly surprised by how cool Fan Bingbing looked as Blink. I’ve always loved this character. I don’t recall if Bingbing had any lines, but she made for an adorable real-life Blink and Days of Future Past made fun use of her powers.
Anna Paquin is in the movie for like 32 seconds and I would have loved more Ellen Page, but I’m totally not going to complain about hot Jennifer Lawrence and sexy Fan Bingbing. Whether it’s the past or the future, the X-Men have some hot chicks.
Excellent Use of Music: This movie will definitely win Academy Awards for “Best Use of Roberta Flack,” “Best Use of Jim Croce,” and “Best Use of the Theme From Sanford & Son.” I’m not sure if these awards actually exist, but they should.
Quicksilver Didn’t Suck: Going into Days of Future past, lots of fanboys were hating on the movie’s version of Quicksilver. Based off of stills from the set, he looked like crap. While he reminded me more of DC Comics’ Impulse than Marvel’s Pietro Maximoff, Quicksilver had a great scene that will make many moviegoers happy. Yeah, I could have done without the flippant line about his parentage, but his fight scene was very, very cool.
Tyrion Hates Mutants: Although I loved Peter Dinklage in The Station Agent before Game of Thrones came out, it’s hard to see him as anyone else but Tyrion Lannister. In Days of Future Past, he plays Bolivar Trask, creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots. While I kept waiting for him to bust out an overly affected British accent, I appreciated his performance. The writing he had to work with was poor; the character was written as a paper-thin antagonist (i.e. science dick), but Dinklage manages to give Trask some depth.
Magneto’s a Dick: In the comics, many writers have portrayed Professor X and Magneto as the mutant equivalents of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively. In X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past, I’m pretty sure that being the master of magnetism is Magneto’s secondary mutation. It seems like his answer to everything is, “I know, I’ll be a dick!” While it’s clear that he cares about his fellow mutants more than anything else, his actions lack thought and his plans generally suck. Then again, I’m happy that he did what he did to RFK Stadium. That place is a toilet.
About a Beast: Adult Nicholas Hoult weirds me out. He’ll always be the kid from About a Boy to me.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past, despite its problems. I wouldn’t say it’s a great superhero film, but it’s good fun. Compared to the comics, it’s a bit dumber and not quite as grim, though it certainly has some dark moments. As far as 2014 superhero movies go, it’s better than Spider-Man 2 and not as good as Captain America 2. It’s one of those flawed movies that I’ll happily watch several times when it’s in rotation on cable.
Having said that, I can see some comics purists hating this movie. Some of the flaws are dismissible, but there are some comics fans that won’t stand for the drastic changes to the source material. When you combine those changes with the movie’s other problems, the film won’t stand a chance with some hardcore comics fans. Those guys and gals can complain all they want and I get it, but I’ll happily watching Days of Future Past again and again in the hopefully-not-Sentinel-dominated future.